Written by Diane O’Burns
Parents whose children watch Hulu and/or receive emails from Hulu should be a aware of a series Hulu is recommending: PEN15 (Get it? Looks like “PENIS”).
At first glance, the show looks innocent enough as it portrays two best friends in their middle school years. According to Hulu,
Pen15 is middle school as it really happened in the year 2000. Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine play versions of themselves as thirteen year old outcasts, surrounded by actual thirteen year olds.
Konkle and Erskine–both age 33–are comedians who play the 13-year-old versions of themselves. All the other seventh- grade characters are played by actual 12-13-year-old children. In some inappropriate scenes, the underage actors have been replaced by adult body doubles, such as when the junior high boys are watching porn.
It’s troubling to see the two adult women expressing sexual desire for 13-year-old boys. There are some scenes in which the women are having sexual thoughts about these children and some scenes in which where they express a desire to act upon their thoughts and desires.
Decades ago, the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) promoted lowering the age of consent and working to abolish age-of-consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors, and now we have a television show that shows adults ogling children and discussing what they would like to do with those children.
The adult stars pretending to be children also chug beer, pose in bras and thongs, and portray sex acts alone under the covers. There is also a discussion in the lunchroom with male children regarding watching porn. In one scene Erskine plays with her My Little Pony figures on her bedroom floor and learns to masturbate.
Erskine says, “We wanted to play these characters because we wanted to tell middle school in an R-rated way.”
This show normalizes adults viewing minors in a sexual way–a phenomenon we see with increasing frequency in the media as more and more female teachers are being arrested for having inappropriate relationships with their underage students. Young impressionable children are being taught that it’s okay to have a sexual interest in adults and for adults to have and show sexual interest in minors.
Adults who work with children may begin to toy with the idea of sexual interest in children under their care. The more that images that depict adults and children in sexual relationships are available, the more teachers and others who work with children will act upon their perverse thoughts and desires.
Parents, know what your children are watching. Think about what is being portrayed and what is being taught explicitly and implicitly. We need to stop grooming the next generation of victims.
Diane O’Burns is a veteran homeschool mother from Illinois.
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